PBC Substance Awareness Coaliton: Use of synthetic drugs is like playing Russian roulette

Posted at 10:15 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 05:39:02-04

What was in the methylone capsules the Martin County Sheriff's Office says 19-year-old Nico Gallo took right before a violent attack

"That's one of  the challenges you're seeing in Martin County right now, is that they're trying to find tests to figure out exactly what it was," said Micah Robbins, Special Projects Director for the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition. 

Robbins says the drugs keep changing. What we saw as a Flakka epidemic last year is now a concoction of other synthetic drugs like bath salts. 

"Someone who is using they think they're getting a normal dose of Xanax or heroin or other drugs and it happens to be literally a cocktail of chemicals," said Robbins. 

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says Gallo's friend admitted to getting the drugs in Margate. A spokesperson says they have open cases targeting these types of chemical drugs associated with Flakka, bath salts, or Molly. 

"We're seeing a spike of epidemic proportions of synthetic opioids and other synthetic narcotics that are very very dangerous," said Robbins. "Last year we were just over 700 overdose responses in Palm Beach County, now we're already over 1400 by August this year."

The even scarier part is that everyone reacts differently. Sheriff Snyder says Gallo's friend did not experience the alleged violent super human strength episode Gallo did. 

"Five people take it and one person goes crazy and goes on a rampage. It's so dangerous. It's like playing Russian roulette with a 6 chamber gun and 5 bullets in the chamber," said Sheriff William Snyder. 

The Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition is working with several agencies to educate the community on what to look for. These drugs can come in capsule form, but they can be swallowed, crushed and smoked or injected. 

Wednesday, August 31 has been declared National Overdose Day in West Palm Beach and Boynton Beach.